Dust mites are not insects but are more closely related to spiders and ticks. There are two common dust mites, the American house dust mite (Dermatophagoides farinae) and the European house dust mite (D. pteronyssinus). Due to their very small size, these dust mites are not visible to the naked eye. They live in bedding, couches, carpet, stuffed toys and old clothing. Dust mites feed on the dead skin that falls off the bodies of humans and animals and on other organic material found where they live.
Though these mites live in many homes, only people who are allergic to them know they are there. Dust mites are second only to pollen in causing allergic reactions. When dust mites grow, they shed their skin. The shed skin and feces are what cause allergic reactions in people. Allergic reactions range from itchy noses and eyes to severe asthma attacks.
Dust mites do not live in air ducts in homes. Many people spend much time and money cleaning the air ducts to reduce dust mites. This is not necessary because dust mites need about 70 percent relative humidity or higher to live, and they need food. Because body heat causes condensation, dust mites are commonly found in areas where people spend much time, like a bed or a favorite plush chair. The top part of mattresses containing fibrous material is a favorite place for dust mites during warm and humid times. The deeper parts of mattresses may provide protected areas for the dust mites during unfavorable conditions. Clothing is used by dust mites as a means of transportation from room to room or even from house to house.
Complete elimination of dust mites is unlikely, yet reducing populations is the only likely way to reduce allergens in the air. Regular cleaning and vacuuming with a product like Steri-Fab or Bedlam will have the greatest impact.
Bedlam Insecticide$14.95 No Rating
* Bedlam kills on contact and provides residual control. * Bedlam is water-based and non-irritating and it may be used on bedding and fabric. * Bedlam will not stain water-safe fabrics and surfaces. * Bedlam may be used in the home, and non-food areas of hotels, apartments, dorms, healthcare facilities, schools, kennels, and other commercial sites.
THIS PRODUCT IS NOT FOR USE ON HUMANS OR PETS: If lice infestation should occur on humans, use a product labeled for use on humans or pets.
Steri-Fab$12.95 No Rating
Steri-Fab is one of the only products labeled for dust mites. It can be applied to mattresses, upholstered furniture and sofas. Steri-Fab offers a unique quality in the world of disinfectants: the added benefit of being both a bactericidal and fungicidal. This unusual combination is also coupled with the fact that Steri-Fab is labeled for other insects such as lice and bed bugs. Steri-Fab is currently being sold in a ready to use 16 ounce container.
Helpful Tips For Controlling Dust Mites
Control of dust mites can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive. For people who are extremely sensitive, the following measures should be taken:
Enclose mattresses, box springs and pillows in zippered allergen- and dust-proof covers.
Wash bedding materials, including pillow cases, sheets, blankets and mattress pads every other week in hot water (130 °F).
Eliminate or reduce fabric wall hangings such as tapestries or pennants.
Purchase stuffed toys that are machine washable.
Avoid using curtains, drapes or blinds on windows. Use plastic shades instead.
Remove carpeting from the bedroom of the allergic person and replace it with tile or wooden floors.
Replace upholstered furniture with wooden or plastic furniture.
Vacuum often with a vacuum cleaner provided with a high efficiency purifying air (HEPA) filtration system. Throw away vacuum bags after use because dust mites can leave the bag.